Dukes London is a sophisticated British hotel, hidden discreetly away in St James and with a fascinating history. Frequented by James Bond author Ian Fleming as well as musicians and royalty it was awarded “AA London Hotel of the Year” and “England’s Leading Classic Hotel” at the World Travel Awards. Their service is second to none and we were delighted to be invited to experience their butler’s service champagne picnic in the park.
Arriving at the quiet courtyard near Green Park where Dukes is located, we had a look around before heading off for our picnic. As you can see, Sean Connery also made a visit to Dukes Bar – their martini is said to be the inspiration behind the classic line “shaken, not stirred“. There’s a stunning Champagne lounge decorated in tones of green and rose to echo Perrier-Jouët Belle Époque champagne. The Cognac and Cigar Garden is a welcome outdoor retreat and THIRTY SIX by Nigel Mendham is a fine dining restaurant focusing on British cuisine, which we’ve since visited and thoroughly enjoyed.
Now it was time to head to nearby Green Park for our picnic. Our butlers were a charming pair, passionate about their jobs and about Dukes which they described as like family. They had prepared everything we needed for a relaxing picnic and let us choose our preferred spot to set up the picnic. We were so lucky with the weather, although they even provide shrugs and hot water bottles if it turns out to be less warm.
Once they have set up the picnic blanket and tablecloth, together with all the food treats, they leave you to enjoy time on your own. You can call a mobile number to let them know when you are ready to leave.
Inside the picnic hamper, there are a couple of stylish picnic champagne glasses, cutlery, crockery and even salt and pepper pots. We’d been thoughtfully supplied not only with Perrier-Jouët Grand Brut champagne, but also Blenheim Palace mineral water and Fever Tree Sicilian lemonade.
By now we had worked up a thirst for that champagne, and our butler kindly poured a glass before leaving. With subtle aromas of apricot and cherry, we savoured its delicate bouquet for a moment before unpacking our feast. Apparently it works well for all occasions, whether seafood or hors d’oeuvres, so we knew it would be perfect for our picnic.
Our picnic spot was perfect – I was after sun so I could get a tan on my legs, and Mr Luxe was keen for some shade. The sunlight was dappling through the trees as we unwrapped our goodies.
Just let them know if you have any allergies or dietary requirements and they will accommodate them. There’s also a vegetarian menu and one for children under 12 years old. Here is the whole spread unpacked, it does look like a lot for two but it’s so healthy that we managed to eat the lot.
We tucked into a flavourful courgette, basil and goat’s cheese muffin before sampling a Scotch egg with homemade mustard and caper mayonnaise. It’s definitely the best one that I’ve ever had, the quality of the meat was superb and the egg itself was delicious – you can see from the colour of the yolk. We also enjoyed the fresh asparagus wrapped in prosciutto.
The chicken wings had been marinated in a tasty barbecue sauce that was finger licking good. One of my favourite dishes was the mackerel with potato salad, cucumber and rye. In my book, a picnic isn’t a picnic without a good potato salad! As for the lamb kofta skewers, we particularly liked the way they were served with juicy heirloom tomatoes and basil. Our final savoury dish was a selection of British artisan cheeses, accompanied by bread rolls and a savoury malt loaf, grapes and a wonderful fresh chutney. I’d highly recommend the Lincolnshire poacher and Barkham Blue cheeses.
Dukes had hit the perfect note with a light dessert of Scottish shortbread and Summer berries. These had been very lightly marinated in gin and tarragon, giving them an extra dimension. It was the perfect finish to a luxurious picnic in the park.
It was time to head off, and we stopped to take a photo of Buckingham Palace, just at the bottom of Green Park.
I’d highly recommend Dukes London’s champagne picnic in the park, in fact I’ve already bought one for a friend. Bookings need to be made at least 24 hours in advance and prices start from £35 per person without drinks. All in all, very reasonable considering that you are getting a full butler service. To find out more, contact the Events Team on +44 (0)207 318 6574 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dukes London, St. James’s Place, London SW1A 1NY